The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 06/10/15

Cecile Richards, Barney Frank, Jeremy Peters, Peter Schulte, Mark Thompson, Dan French

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, I can fit them all
right here in this studio –


O`DONNELL: Whenever they want.


We`ve got plenty of room.

MADDOW: No arbitrary cut off, they`re all –

O`DONNELL: Right –

MADDOW: Welcome –

O`DONNELL: Right –

MADDOW: Exactly –

O`DONNELL: No problem.


O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, at least he apologized through his lawyer.


JANE BISHKIN, ATTORNEY: He apologizes to all who were offended.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former McKinney police officer Eric Casebolt
apologized today through his attorney.

BISHKIN: Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in
a negative light. He allowed his emotions to get the better of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most abortion clinics in the state of Texas will
close at the end of this month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the goal of the state legislature and of Governor
Rick Perry was to end safe and legal abortion completely in the state of

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House said today, hundreds more American
troops are heading back.

The president hasn`t outlined a strategy in order to win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They still don`t know what to say except to attack the


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has not figured out the Iraq answer –

BUSH: Believe that the efforts to date haven`t been strategic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both the one behind him which is his brother`s war
and the one in front of him.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Don`t even get me started on the
tension between me and my sister, Martha.



O`DONNELL: Every week, Republican presidential candidates are facing a new



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you attend a gay wedding?

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized
the invasion?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Was it a mistake to go to war with Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some are out there like Lindsey Graham saying, we
should send ten thousand U.S. ground troops right now to Iraq to help with
this fight. Do you favor that?


O`DONNELL: Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham plans to use
the United States Senate to change the presidential campaign subject of the
week to abortion.

Senator Graham plans to introduce a bill banning abortions after the 20th
week of pregnancy. The Supreme Court`s decision in Roe v. Wade established
that a woman has the right to choose to end the pregnancy before the fetus
is viable.

The 1973 Supreme Court opinion said viability is “usually placed at about
seven months, 28 weeks, but may occur earlier even at 24 weeks. In April,
Senator Graham spoke at an event for an anti-abortion organization.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We`re going to have one hell of a
fight on the floor of the Senate. I can`t promise you we`re going to get
60 votes this year, but I can promise you one day we will.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, “New York Times” political reporter and Msnbc
Political Analyst Jeremy Peters, the President of Planned Parenthood Cecile
Richards and former Congressman and an Msnbc contributor Barney Frank,
author of “Frank: A Life in Politics”.

Cecile, there is Lindsey Graham saying, I can`t promise you we`ll get to 60
votes, which is another way of saying, there is – this is a stunt, I`m
going to use the Senate floor because I can.

The procedure allows me to go out there when I want to, in this case when
convenient for my campaign with no hope of what he is doing becoming law.

Correct, and of course, this is – we`ve already had 29 actions by this
congress to try to limit abortion.

It is their obsession. And for Lindsey Graham, this is his effort to
pander to the part of the wing of his party that he needs in order to – I
guess could be competitive.

But it is really a shame that we are – continued to be preoccupied by this
issue, that`s not what their voters want, it`s not what the – even the
Republican Party wants.

And I was really heartened to see the day Senator Susan Collins say this is
not the priority and shouldn`t be of this Congress.

O`DONNELL: Barney Frank, the priority of the Senate apparently is going to
be whatever this week`s presidential candidate in the Senate decides to
make it.

BARNEY FRANK, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: That`s true, but I think we are getting
some indication of what the 2016 election will be about.

It`s already clear that it will mean if they win and end any effort to deal
with climate change or do any serious financial regulation. I think people
should take this abortion thing very seriously.

The Supreme Court and many of our courts have been edging closer to the
tension of abortion restrictions.

I think it`s very clear if – with Lindsey Graham raising this with the
pressures that generates among the Republican primary electorate.

I think it`s pretty clear that if you get a Republican president elected in
2016, given the age and the disposition of the Supreme Court Justices, Roe
versus Wade will be overturned.

I don`t think there`s any question that if a Republican president wins we
will see the end of Roe versus Wade.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, is that what we`re going to hear from Republican
candidates next week, promises to select Supreme Court Justices who will
overturn Roe versus Wade?

JEREMY PETERS, NEW YORK TIMES: You know, this is always a question that
comes up in every presidential election. I think there is a certain
wariness among Republicans to get too deep into the weeds on this issue.

I have to say, I find it curious as a political strategy because all of the
presidential candidates who are in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz,
Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, they`re all co-sponsors of this bill.

So, it`s not really a way for them to differentiate themselves. And you
know, what you have here, I think is not so much a campaign tactic as it is
Mitch McConnell fulfilling a promise to the anti-abortion groups from 2014
when they helped him in some tight Senate races that the Republicans were
trying to win.

And he promised to bring a bill like this to the floor, and that`s really
what this is.

O`DONNELL: Cecile –


O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead, Barney –

FRANK: I disagree. In the first place, I don`t think you`re going to see
the wariness – well, things are changing. And this is not the Republican
nominating process even of eight years ago or even four.

The right wing pressures I think are intensifying and I think you are going
to see whatever that wariness is, you just notice all four of them are –
sponsored this bill, they`ll all be sponsors of it.

And in addition, you just – because other people are for it doesn`t mean
you can`t make an issue. You could be the one who is the most effective.

You can claim that I`m the real leader on this. So, the fact that they`re
all together on the issue in substance doesn`t mean they won`t try to make
it a basis for differentiating among them depending on who was the most
ardent advocate and the most effective.

O`DONNELL: Cecile, to Barney`s point, it may have no legislative impact on
the Senate floor, but it should, in Barney`s view be taken as a promise.
This is what a Republican presidency will try to bring you.

RICHARDS: Absolutely, I don`t disagree at all. And in fact, what we`re
seeing this year is a repeat of what we saw in the last presidential
Republican primary where it was a race to the bottom on women.

It resulted in the largest gender gap ever in the history of Gallop polling
in a presidential race, and that was because we had a Republican primary
that everyone pledged to overturn Roe versus Wade, defund Planned

I think the difference this time and why this is so serious is, we`re
actually now seeing in states like the state of Texas, they`ve enacted this
kind of draconian measures – the impact on women.

So, it`s no longer a theoretical war on women, it`s an actual war on women.

O`DONNELL: The Republican primary field is confused about exactly what the
debate rules are going to be. “Fox News” wants to limit it on who gets on
the stage.

New Hampshire Republican sent a letter to “Fox News” about the RNC debate
criteria, and they said, “as you know, the first in the nation New
Hampshire primary plays a pivotal role in selecting our nominees for

Historically, it has been the responsibility of early primary in caucus
states to closely examine and win all the field of candidates. And it is
not in the electorates interest to have TV debate criteria supplant this
solemn duty.”

Barney Frank, is there a way out of this for this very crowded Republican
field? Is there a way – is there a wise way –


O`DONNELL: For the party to handle this?

FRANK: There is, but what`s interesting is – and I was struck by this –
watching I think Michael Steele on one of the shows on Msnbc.

Essentially, what we have seen is that the Republican party is sort of
officially recognized the fact that “Fox News” is their communications


I mean, seriously.


FRANK: Michael Steele, a very sensible former RNC chair said well, you
know, we`re going to – we are going to leave that to “Fox News”.

And you see this interesting collaboration, unprecedented I think, between
one of the two major political parties and the theoretically independent

Yes, there was an answer, and I think at this point, I have some sympathy
with the – some of the Republican candidates. What this does is show the
absolute selfishness and desire for self advancement.

There are people who are running, who everyone knows have no serious
chance. And for them to insist on full equity, look, obviously, from the
Democratic standpoint, a debate of 15, 16 people, is going to be something
that`s difficult.

And I think they should go ahead and say we`re going to do some
restriction, and I think what you see and people ought to start talking
about some of these candidates.

Carly Fiorina, others who have no serious chance whatsoever and I`m
delighted to see them messing up their own party`s procedure.

O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, what about other news organizations or other
sponsors jumping in and offering debate forums as I have done. They can
all come her whenever they want.


PETERS: OK, well, I`m sure that Ted Cruz is going to take you up on that,
Lawrence. But, no, in all seriousness, what you`re seeing here is two
things. A weakening of the national parties.

The Republican National Committee doesn`t really have much power over the
mechanics of the political process and the debates is one of the few
remaining things that they can really control.

And when they try to exert control, they found a backlash. They found a
backlash from candidates and they found a backlash from local and state
parties who felt like they were being cut out of the process.

And so what this is all led to is a lot of griping and hard feelings on the
part of New Hampshire Republicans, on the part of Iowa Republicans because
they feel like the RNC has effectively outsourced the winnowing of the
field to the news networks.

And they always took very seriously their early place in this presidential
selection process, which they now feel has been undermined.

FRANK: Not the news networks. “Fox News”. I think that`s –


PETERS: No, that`s not true. “Cnn” is hosting the second debate, “Abc
News” will be hosting their debate –

FRANK: But they said “Fox” was setting – but –

PETERS: No, “Fox” –


FRANK: “Fox” was setting the move first –

PETERS: They`ve all set their own criteria. They`ve –

FRANK: Letting “Fox” –

PETERS: They`ve all set their own criteria –

FRANK: Letting “Fox” –

PETERS: So, is not just “Fox News” –

FRANK: Letting “Fox” – but they let “Fox” go first, and they`re giving
them (INAUDIBLE) to “Fox” and “Fox” is the pattern setter by the RNC`s

O`DONNELL: Cecile, is it in the Democrat`s interest in your view to have
as many Republicans up on the stage as possible?

Because it actually increases the idea – the possibility as it would with
any large group of something nutty being said?

RICHARDS: Well, I think regardless over how many folks are up on stage,
nutty things are already being said.


RICHARDS: And I guess, my point will be, not as a – not from the
Democratic Party point of view, but the women`s point of view, these
candidates are indistinguishable.

And so, to me, the more daylight we shine on their positions and how
extreme they are, the more we are going to see a repeat of the last
presidential election and with the gender gap actually determine who the
next president was.

O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, Jeremy Peters and Barney Frank, thank you all
for joining me tonight.

RICHARDS: Good to be here.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the reaction to the apology today from that Texas
police officer who was caught on video violating the rights of teenagers
after a pool party.


O`DONNELL: The attorney for that police officer in Texas who was caught on
camera out of control in his reaction to kids leaving a pool party,
apologized on his behalf today and said, that the problem was what he was
doing before he got called to intervene at that pool party.

Let`s listen to this.


BISHKIN: He does recognize that his emotions got the best of him –


BISHKIN: And that the prior suicide calls put him in an emotional place
that he would prefer not to have been in when responding to this call.


O`DONNELL: More about those suicide calls and everything else she had to
say, that`s next.



BISHKIN: It is his hope that his resignation will facilitate the
cooperative relationship between the citizens and the police officers of
the city of McKinney.


O`DONNELL: That`s Jane Bishkin, an attorney representing Eric Casebolt who
resigned from McKinney police force after video showed what his police
chief called indefensible conduct at the scene of a teenagers swimming pool

Here is that video again, for those few of you who may not have seen it, it
does include many disturbing moments.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call my mama now!



Call my mama! Call my mama! Oh, God!








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re cool with that? –




O`DONNELL: Officer Casebolt`s attorney today explained that he had just
responded to two different suicide calls, one in which a man had taken his
life and another in which a teenage girl was subdued and then taken to a

His attorney said that those two suicide calls just prior to this event,
“took an emotional toll on Eric Casebolt.” She then described what
happened next.


BISHKIN: With all that had happened that day, he allowed his emotions to
get the better of him. Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his
department in a negative light.

He never intended to mistreat anyone but was only reacting to a situation
and the challenges that it presented. He apologizes to all who were

That day was not representative of the ten-year service to the community of
McKinney and it is his hope that by his resignation, the community may
start to heal.


O`DONNELL: The attorney said she would take no questions, but then she
answered a few questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You issued an apology, does that apology extend to that
14/15-year-old that`s involved in all of that?

BISHKIN: Any who – yes, anyone who feels – you know, was offended, yes.
Again, he`s – he is apologizing that his conduct offended – he recognizes
and I think I said this, that he does recognize that his emotions got the
best of him.


BISHKIN: And that the prior suicide calls put him in an emotional place
that he would prefer not to have been in when responding to this call.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent, Joy
attended that press conference today with Eric Casebolt`s lawyer and the
lawyer for Dajerria Becton in another press conference.

And Peter Schulte is joining us, a defense lawyer based in Dallas, Texas,
he is also a former police officer who served with the McKinney Police

Peter Schulte, I want to get to this question raised by the lawyer, this
issue raised by the lawyer which is commonly raised in these situations
defensively for police officers.

And that is, what he or she was doing before. And clearly, it`s
interesting to know about, but the job of the police officer is to be able
to show up at a scene and deal with the situation that`s at that scene
without reacting as she put it, under emotional pressures or emotional
conditions that he`s bringing with him from a previous scene.

And I think it`s interesting that this press conference today kind of
opened up more questions than answers.

I mean if he wasn`t able to get himself emotionally ready to go to the next
call, the bigger question is, why did he even respond?

He maybe should have gone back to the police department and kind of cooled
down a little bit to try to collect his thoughts more before responding –

O`DONNELL: Peter –

SCHULTE: To the scene –

O`DONNELL: Peter, let me – let me stop you there and ask you about that.
You served in that police department, and I`m sure there`s a – the police
culture around the country would have similar reactions to this.

What would happen? What – an officer is in a car and he is thinking, I
don`t want to go respond to this pool party thing because of what I just –
the two suicide calls I`ve just been through.

I want to go back to the station, I want to take a break. Isn`t there –
isn`t there a culture, a police cultural pressure to not do that, to not
say I`m going to take myself off the street, I`m going to go back to the

Wouldn`t he be looked at negatively by his colleagues?

SCHULTE: You know, that`s obviously a good question. And I – you know, I
had situations when I was a police officer that I`d get to something or
something would happen and it wouldn`t turn out as well as I thought it


SCHULTE: And then the next call comes in and you just have to go. But I
think in this day and age, I mean especially when he had back-to-back
suicide calls which nobody knew about until his attorney today decided to,
you know, let us know about that.

I think there are expectations in the culture of a police department to
make sure police officers are able to handle anything they`re dispatched

And I agree with you, Lawrence. I mean, sometimes it may defeat your
manhood, it may defeat your ego to have to say I`ve got to go back and take
a break, but that should have happened in this case.

I mean, based on Miss Bishkin`s conversation today, he shouldn`t have been
at that call.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I mean, and the police culture has to open up to that
option, allowing someone if this is the actual condition to just – you
know, he is not going to go out to this one.

Joy Reid, how did the apology go over in McKinney today?

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you that at least
from the point of view of Dajerria Becton`s attorney, she said that they
certainly welcome the sentiments.

She was very quick to say that it doesn`t alter the fundamental facts of
course, which is the potential violation of the civil rights of the 15-
year-old girl.

So, I think that people are certainly sympathetic to anyone who is saying
that they were in distress at that time.

But I think that a lot of people in this community, at least who were very
much focused on activism around what happened to Dajerria Becton really
want to keep the focus there.

And the first question, in fact, Lawrence, after they started taking
questions after they weren`t taking questions was whether any other
officers who responded to the scene.

Because remember, 12 officers responded. Whether any of the other officers
also had responded to the suicide calls, but were able to, you know, behave
appropriately at the scene of the pool party.

So, that was one of the questions that was I think begged by the answer.

O`DONNELL: Yes, they didn`t either didn`t know the answer to it or
couldn`t. Peter Schulte, in your experience with the size of that police
department and the geography in question.

Twelve officers show up, probably within some geographic proximity of the
suicide calls. What is the likelihood that of those – of the others,
one, two, three or more of them were also involved in those previous calls?

SCHULTE: Pretty substantial likelihood. I mean I would say that at least
one or two of them that responded had to have been at one or two of those
suicide calls.

But I found it interesting today during the press conference with his
lawyer that, you know, she tried to make a big deal about that, he is the
one who handled those suicide calls.

Had to, you know, console the wife of the first one and that he was
responsible for talking the second victim, the second suicide suspect off
the roof.

And I think maybe because he was one of the corporals and one of the
supervisors. But it`s a good question. I again, you know, kind of goes
back to the culture that we just talked about.

I mean there were times that I was at McKinney that we`d get to a rough
call, and I`d have a supervisor say, hey, Pete, go back to the station and
take a break and then, you know, the minute I`m in Laredo, who the hell –
then we get another high priority call and we`ve got to go.

But that`s part of the training and the mindset you have to have to be a
successful police officer.

O`DONNELL: And Joy Reid, so far –

REID: And Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Joy.

REID: Well, I was just going to point out that, you know, I think one of
the other things that hasn`t been mentioned all that much is that Eric
Casebolt was not just another officer on the scene.

He was actually the supervisor.

SCHULTE: Right –

REID: So, I think, you know, that – the other question that it raises for
me as to whether or not he was free to go to that scene or not, go to that
scene, he was not going to be just one of the junior officers on the scene.

He was in charge of that scene. And the other thing that his attorney said
was that he actually thought about not going, but actually decided to go
when it was – he thought it was just a mundane, you know, kids at a pool
party trespass case.

But that he actually made the decision to go any way once it was escalated
to a situation that was something greater than just a simple trespass.

So, these were affirmative decisions that he was making in that moment.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight, Peter
Schulte, thank you very much for joining us tonight with your unique
perspective on this –

SCHULTE: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: Thanks –

SCHULTE: For having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Michelle Obama`s mother reveals the secret of her
success in parenting of Michelle`s mother`s success in parenting which
Michelle Obama says should surprise no one.


O`DONNELL: On January 21st, 2013, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton marched in
President Obama`s inaugural parade, eight days later, Hadiya was shot and
killed on the south side of Chicago, not far from the Obama family home.

First lady Michelle Obama spoke at her funeral. Yesterday should have been
Hadiya`s high school graduation day, instead, her classmates presented her
family with a class ring and left one seat empty in her honor and once
again the first lady addressed Hadiya`s family, friends and classmates at
King College Prep High School.

Here is part of what she said.


skewed story about our communities.

A narrative that says that a stable, hard-working family in a neighborhood
like Woodlawn or Chatham or Bronzeville is somehow remarkable. That a young
person who graduates from high school and goes to college is a beat-the-
odds kind of hero.

Look, I can`t tell you how many times people have met my mother and asked
her, well, how on earth did you ever raise kids like Michelle and Craig in
a place like South Shore? And my mom looks at these folks like they are
crazy, and she says, Michelle and Craig are nothing special. There are
millions of Craigs and Michelles out there. And I did the same thing that
all those other parents did. She says, I loved them, I believed in them,
and I didn`t take any nonsense from them.

And I`m here tonight because I want people across this country to know that
story, the real story of the South Side. Maybe you have been tested a lot
more and a lot earlier in life than many other young people. Maybe you
have more scars than they do. Maybe you have days when you feel more tired
than someone your age should ever really feel, but graduates, tonight I
want you to understand that every scar that you have is a reminder, not
just that you got hurt, but that you survived.


If ideas, friends and family could survive the heartbreak and pain, if they
could found organizations to honor her unfulfilled dreams, if they can
inspire folks across this country to wear orange in protest to gun
violence, then I know you all can live your life with the same
determination and joy that Hadiya lived her life. I know you all can dig
deep and keep on fighting to fulfill your own dreams.


O`DONNELL: Joy Reid is back with us and now joining us Mark Thompson, host
of “Make It Plain” on Sirius XM Radio.

Joy, it`s such an extraordinary speech. We`ve come to expect this from
Michelle Obama. She says things no one else does in ways no one else can.

Boy, every parent in America just put up that in an index card with
Michelle Obama`s mother`s advice on it. I loved them, I believed in them
and I didn`t take any nonsense from them.

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes – no, absolutely, Lawrence.
And it`s interesting, you know, I was thinking and listening back to the
speech earlier today that, you know, if Trayvon Martin in a lot of ways
sort of fundamentally emotionally shaped Barack Obama in that White House
in a lot of ways, and I think he really did. I think Hadiya Pendleton did
the same for Michelle Obama.

I`ve heard her speak of Hadiya before. And you really can see that she saw
herself in the potential that Hadiya had. She saw really Hadiya as almost
herself because they were raised in such similar circumstances, the
determination of Hadiya`s parents who kept her busy, you know, with the
marching band and all of the things that she was involved in, just to keep
her constantly occupied and raising her a lot of the same ways that Mary
Ann Robinson raised and taught her children.

And so she`s really very emotional about that. She, you know, as you said
attended the funeral. There is something about the way Michelle Obama is
able to speak and communicate that really makes you feel like you know her
and she knows you, that she comes from your neighborhood, that she could
have lived around the corner. And I think that quality really does make
her a very unique and significant first lady.

O`DONNELL: Well, she really does come from their neighborhood. Let`s hear
a little bit more of what she had to say and why she`s not surprised that
every graduate, all 177 of this class, has been accepted in college.


OBAMA: There is one thing that I`m not feeling right now and that is
surprised. I am not at all surprised by how accomplished you all are. I
am not at all surprised by the dedication your teachers have shown or by
the sacrifices your families have made to carry you to this day. I`m not
surprised because I know this community.


O`DONNELL: Mark Thompson, not surprised.

MARK THOMPSON, HOST, “MAKE IT PLAIN”: No. And you`re right. She does
come from that community. This is the power of Michelle Obama and the
president. First of all, the first lady is three for three. Tuskegee,
Oberlin, Overland, Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep, Martin the King,
college prep. And she`s given some very inspirational and aspirational
speeches, charging these young people in terms of what their
responsibilities are.

And so it`s meaningful for these young people to be endorsed by this first
lady. Her saying that she`s not surprised. And for her also to speak to
their role in the future in terms of rewriting the history of our own
community, which she said later in the speech is a burden that she and the
president share every day. They can – everything they do or say can
either confirm the myths about African-Americans or refute them.

And it`s timely considering what many of these young people are facing,
whether it`s violence in their own community, even violence at the hands of
the police. She is speaking about their dignity, their humanity. She is a
part of it. And it`s important for the first African-American first lady
to speak about dignity and humanity as African-American woman after we have
just seen these videos of this young lady in McKinney and her humanity and
dignity being attacked by this police officer. This is a very, very
meaningful moment.

O`DONNELL: Yes. It`s – let`s listen to what she had to say to these
young people about friends of theirs who might not be doing as well as they
are right now. Let`s listen to that.


OBAMA: There are so many young people who can only dream of the
opportunities you`ve had at King College Prep. Young people in troubled
parts of the world who never set foot in a classroom. Young people in this
community who don`t have anyone to support them. Young people like Hadiya
who were taken from us too soon and can never become who they were meant to
be. You need to stay hungry for them.


O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, your reaction?

REID: Yes, absolutely. And I think that, you know, that part of it, and
you can just hear the emotion in her voice. And I think that both the
Obamas have this real sense of – I wouldn`t call it burden but
responsibility to try to speak to the futures and the possibilities of
young children of color, of young people of color. I think they feel that
really deeply and that that is a part of this process, of being the first

And Michelle Obama has said as much that it is significant that they are
the first black family to live in that White House, and I think they want
to impart some kind of what they`ve been able to take from it and some of
that sense of responsibility and pass that on in hopes the young – the
next generation will do the same and pass it along, you know, to the next
after that.

O`DONNELL: That will have to be the LAST WORD on this tonight.

Mark Thompson, such a good point about the timing importance of this the
speech in the same week that we saw that 15-year-old girl abused on the
street like that and the whole world saw.

Joy Reid and Mark Thompson, thank you both for joining me tonight.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the conscience of the Senate. That`s right. The
United States Senate. Which used to have a conscience. And later, police
used a new strategy in the hunt for two prison escapees in upstate New


O`DONNELL: The “National Enquirer” has broken a real story. The current
headline on the cover of the “National Enquirer” reads, “Michelle and the
Secret Service Agent. The “Enquirer`s” Web site describes in a blockbuster
world exclusive, the “National Enquirer” has obtained shocking details
about how a randy Secret Service agent assigned to the First Lady Michelle
Obama`s detail enjoyed steamy sexting.

The “Washington Post” investigated that and found that on May 20th, a
junior agent on duty at a White House event approached a young woman, an
event planner, and asked for her phone number all while on the first lady`s
protection detail. According to the “Washington Post,” about eight hours
later that agent sent the woman some lewd images and suggestive texts from
his personal cell phone while he was off duty.

The Secret Service, our Secret Service, learned about all this from the
“National Enquirer.” And then placed the agent on administrative leave
while investigating the situation.

Up next, “In Her Story,” one of the most extraordinary women in the history
of the United States Senate was not a senator.


O`DONNELL: Phil Hart`s name is engraved in history. Not just written in
history. There are three Senate office buildings in Washington and one of
them is named for Philip Aloysius Hart. It is the only Senate office
building that was named for a still living senator. When the vote was
taken in the Senate on naming the building, Phil Hart abstained and 99 of
his colleagues voted to name the new building after the man they then knew
as the conscience of the Senate.

A few months later, Phil Hart died. The day after Christmas in 1976.
After his death, the legendary columnist Mary McGrory wrote that naming the
new Senate office building after Phil Hart was appropriate. Then she said,
“If they could build his qualities, he was gentle and just, into the walls
we would have a Senate that would astound the world with its civility and

When Phil Hart was in the Senate no one in Washington was better at finding
the moral center of an issue. When Alabama segregationist Governor George
Wallace came to testify against the Civil Rights Bill it was Phil Hart who
asked the governor if he thought that heaven would be segregated.

I worked in the Senate long after Phil Hart was gone but I worked with
senators who loved Phil Hart and never forgot him, and with his name on the
building he still had a presence there every day. And so when I met his
son, Jim Hart, a brilliant producer and director in Los Angeles, I was in
awe. This was the closest I was ever going to get to Phil Hart.

I know all about Jim Hart`s father, but I knew nothing about his mother.
History is a spotlight, and often right outside the rim of that spotlight,
in the darkness, there is a story as captivating as the center of history`s
spotlight. And so it is, with Jim Hart`s mother, Senator Phil Hart`s wife.

This is her story.

Jane Cameron Briggs was born in 1921 in Detroit where her father, Walter O.
Briggs, was the owner of the Detroit Tigers. She took flying lessons and
got her pilot`s license while she was still a teenager. She married Phil
Hart in 1943 while he was serving as an army captain in World War II. Phil
Hart was wounded in the war and recovered at the same veterans` hospital
that Senator Bob Dole was in after suffering his injuries in World War II.

The lasting bond forged in that hospital served the two future senators
well when they got to Washington and found ways of working together across
party lines.

Jane and Phil Hart had eight children. When Phil turned to politics in
Michigan, Janie was the pilot flying him to campaign events in a
helicopter. Phil Hart`s Senate career began at the dawn of America`s space
program and Janie Hart publicly pushed for the inclusion of women in the
astronaut program.

Twenty years before Sally Ride became America`s first woman in space, in
her 40s, Janie Hart passed an astronaut training program with no hope of
actually becoming an astronaut, just to make the point that women could do


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think it would be difficult for a woman astronaut to
also have a family?

JANE HART, WIFE OF PHIL HART: I`ve accomplished the production of eight
children and in the process of raising them, and I still have been able to
fly 2,000 hours of flying time and considerable aeronautical experience.


O`DONNELL: Janie Hart opposed America`s involvement in the Vietnam War
before her husband did. She participated in public peace demonstrations
and even got arrested at the Pentagon during a demonstration.

Michael Hart told the “Washington Post” that his father was sometimes
asked, can`t you control that wife of yours, and Senator Hart would always
reply, why would I? In 1978, Janie Hart made a trip behind enemy lines in
Hanoi to meet with American POWs and make her own assessment of the
situation there. That same year the “Washington Post” reports Janie Hart
stopped paying her federal income taxes, put the money in a special holding
fund, and wrote a note to the Internal Revenue Service saying, “I cannot
contribute one more dollar toward the purchase of more bombs and bullets.”

Senator Hart publicly disagreed with his wife`s decision to withhold taxes
but no senator understood matters of conscience better than he did. Of
Janie Hart`s decision to withhold tax payments, Senator Hart said he was,
quote, “proud of a decision that I disagree with.”

We will not see the likes of Janie and Phil Hart in our politics again, a
senator of unquestioned integrity, and a senator`s spouse engaging in her
own public life without getting her words and actions approved by political
handlers. Our 21st century political media would not know what to make of

In Phil Hart`s final appearance on “Meet the Press,” Janie joined him at
the table for a bit of reminiscence and was asked how she managed her
family of eight children while supporting her husband`s political career
and pursuing her own interests?


HART: It didn`t seem so difficult at the time. I look back at it now and
I can`t understand how I ever did it. Even just having the eight children
strikes me as an amazing accomplishment now that I see my daughter with her
one. But it didn`t seem to be so difficult at the time. And Phil wasn`t
away that much obviously.


And at the time I was flying quite a bit. And I could get around the state
of Michigan and always – pretty much always be home every afternoon by the
time the older ones were back from school. And so we didn`t – we didn`t
get split up as much as we might have.


O`DONNELL: When Senator Hart died, the president called Janey Hart,
President Gerald Ford. The president asked, as we all do in that
situation, if there was anything he could do. Janey Hart`s answer made
front page news.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The widow of Senator Philip Hart, whose funeral was
held today, received a telephone call yesterday from President Ford. Mr.
Ford asked her whether he could do anything for her. She said yes, he
could grant amnesty to all Vietnam draft evaders and deserters. President
Ford told Mrs. Hart he would consider the matter but there has been some
doubt about his actionable intentions.


O`DONNELL: On Friday, just before dawn, Janey Hart died. She was 93.


O`DONNELL: The latest on that prison break in upstate New York is next.


O`DONNELL: At this hour, police in upstate New York have gone to search an
area about 1.5 miles away from the maximum security prison where two men
escaped Saturday. Earlier today New York asked for Vermont`s help in
tracking those prisoners.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: From the point of view of public safety
these people are dangerous. They are dangerous to New York residents and
they`re dangerous to residents of the state of Vermont.

We`ve had an exhaustive effort. As you know it`s not for lack of trying.
But we`re going to redouble our efforts and we`re going to keep looking
until we find them.


O`DONNELL: The Vermont State Police are alerting residents near Lake
Champlain to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Police in upstate
New York continue to search door-to-door in the towns of Dannemora and
Willsboro earlier today. Sources close to the investigation also say that
the prison employee Joyce Mitchell is still being questioned by

Joining us now is Dan French, he`s the former United States attorney for
the northern district of New York.

And, Dan, that`s your district where this prison is. And so earlier in the
day, there`s the governor with the Vermont governor thinking they could be
as far away as the Vermont border. The latest report, within a mile and a
half of the prison. And you are not surprised.

DAN FRENCH, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I`m not surprised. What law enforcement
thinks – if you talk to law enforcement up there is that there was a plan
inside the prison and there was a plan outside the prison. What looks like
happened, the plan outside the prison didn`t come together. The plan must
have been to get away from that tiny town in upstate New York as fast as
possible and it looks like that plan fell apart.

So now you have two convicted killers on foot in a very densely wooded
area, and a very rural area. To put this in perspective, in Clinton
County, where this prison is, there are 80 people per square mile in that
county. In New York City, there are 26,000 people per square mile.


FRENCH: It`s densely forested. And therefore, if you`re on foot, you`re
not likely to go far. You`re likely going to get confused.

O`DONNELL: Now you told me earlier today about a tactic used by a prisoner
who actually escaped twice in upstate New York.

FRENCH: Right. There was a serial killer in the 1970s by the name of
Robert Darrow who most law students who graduated know of because there`s
an ethics case about his lawyer knowing where bodies were buried and not
telling law enforcement because of the privilege that he had to his client.
That`s – almost every lawyer in America knows that story.

The story of Darrow, though, is when he was on the lam, he stayed within 20
to 30 feet of the roads and the highways because it was so densely
populated. No one can see him. And he needed the roads to travel. And so
he was very close when most people thought he was very far away.

O`DONNELL: And he was actually very close at certain points to the police
and able to listen to what their tactics.

FRENCH: Correct. One of his tactics was to stay within feet of the New
York state compound where all the troopers were and where they were getting
their assignments. Because he could hear what they were doing and he could
what they – where they were going to go next. How they finally got him on
one of the first escape is they literally had a sense that this is what he
was doing and they did a ring and they just walked out and they flushed him
out of the bushes.

It`s that densely populated up there. You can be within three feet. You
and me of this distance, I don`t think I`d see in those woods.

O`DONNELL: The vegetation is that dense. Yes.

FRENCH: Correct.

O`DONNELL: And so this – the notion that the latest search was taking
place within a mile and a half of the prison is one that doesn`t really
challenge the mind because you don`t have to spend a lot of time trying to
figure out. I wonder how they got there, you know, as opposed to if they
were way up the Canadian border, the question would be how did they get

FRENCH: Correct.

O`DONNELL: You know, because – the only thing we know that they can do is
move on foot. We don`t know if they have any other method.

FRENCH: Correct. I mean, look, we don`t know where they are tonight. The
hope is, I think, for law enforcement that they`re there. Because if they
found a vehicle, if they have gotten out of that area, then, you know, six
hours to Manhattan. So they`re really I think hoping they`re there and
they`re going to find them there.

O`DONNELL: And at that – at this point, though, anything`s possible.

FRENCH: Anything`s possible.

O`DONNELL: Dan French, thank you very much for joining us.

FRENCH: Thank you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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